Men’s health is a phrase we use to talk about everything from the hair on your head to the aches in your feet and everything in-between, but there’s one segment of overall health that guys care most about — having a healthy penis.
Of course, if you take good care of your penis, you stand a pretty good chance of avoiding most of the health scares that might occur throughout your life.
With that in mind, we’ve collected a list of tips for penile health, along with some facts about why the health of your penis is more important than you might think. For starters: it could be a canary in the coalmine for your entire body.
Add a boost to your sex life with our new chewable formats
Penis health is just a way at looking at the function, shape and general survival of your penis. And in the same way that diet, exercise and other elements of your habits, lifestyle and genetics can affect heart health, they can frankly affect your penis health too.
Luckily, taking care of your penis is relatively simple. In fact, most things that are good for your general health — such as exercising often, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight — are also good for your penis.
However, there are also a few penis-specific things that you should probably be aware of, so it can be in tip-top shape when you bring someone home from a successful date.
Your penis and its functionality are vulnerable to a number of health risks, including:
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases (STDs) like syphilis and genital warts
High blood pressure
Low testosterone levels
Side effects of medications
Foreskin problems like phimosis and circumcision complications
Conditions like Peyronie’s disease or penile fractures, which can crop up anytime there’s trauma to your penis
In other words, there are a lot of things to look out for if you want a reliable, healthy, erect penis.
Now let’s talk about how to prevent them.
It doesn’t take a urology expert to tell you that your penis’ health matters. From the head of the penis down to the base of the scrotum, there’s a lot to take care of (regardless of penis size) and if you care about how your penis looks, feels and performs, you’ve got to put the work in. Luckily, many of the tips we’ve assembled are good for the rest of your body too.
Here’s what to do.
Your diet plays an essential role in the wellbeing and function of your penis. While there’s no “perfect” penis diet, eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is generally a smart idea to keep all your organs healthy. It’s especially good for your cardiovascular health, which means it’s good for your sexual health.
A review in the Journal of Sexual Medicine concluded that men who are not affected by erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, but low in refined grains and processed meats. The authors also noted that the heart-friendly Mediterranean diet may help to reduce the risk of ED in men with diabetes.
Healthy erections are all about blood flow, and exercise gets your cardiovascular system flowing properly.
Exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mental health and even prevent depression, which can all affect your sexual performance.
Try to exercise often — as little as 30 minutes per day is enough to produce an improvement in your cardiovascular health.
The heavier you are, the more likely you are to develop ED, so staying at an optimal weight is crucial for penis health.
Overweight and obese men (those with a high BMI) are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, and while it may not be the weight itself, the associated health risks of obesity can weigh heavily on erectile health. Luckily, a study published in 2005 found that 31 percent of men with ED restored their function after losing weight.
So do the work — you’ll see the results.
Dehydration is a pretty obvious no-no for your health. Obviously dying of dehydration will pretty much end your erectile adventures for good, but chronic — or even mild — dehydration can cause problems with your erectile health, so make sure you refill that water glass.
Pelvic floor exercises can help with a number of penile problems, from urology issues with incontinence to stamina.
Kegels strengthen the muscles between your pubic bone and tailbone, which play a role in your sexual function. These exercises can also increase your level of control over your bladder and prevent issues like leakage and dripping after you pee.
Our guide to erectile dysfunction exercises is a great place to learn how to practice these at home.
The quality and quantity of your sleep is about more than how alert and focused you are during the day — it can also interfere with your erection quality.
According to the CDC, adults who sleep for less than seven hours a night are more likely to say they have health problems, including heart attacks, depression and asthma — all of which can have trickle-down effects on your penis.
The same active ingredients as Viagra®. Starts working in 30 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours.
Same active ingredient as Cialis®. Starts working in 1 hour and lasts up to 24 hours.
Exclusively at Hims, starts working in 15 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours. Same active ingredients as Levitra®.
Your mental health can affect your sexual health even when the rest of your body seems to be functioning normally. We’re not just talking about ED that’s caused by psychological factors — everything from stress to sleep issues to low self-esteem can prevent erections.
Feelings of guilt about sex or certain sexual activities or fear of sexual failure can also affect your sexual health, as can conditions like depression and anxiety.
There are many ways to improve your mental health, but when you want to deal with thought patterns and behaviors affecting your sexual performance, forms of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and sex therapy may be the way to go.
You can learn more about this type of treatment in our detailed guide to sex therapy for erectile dysfunction.
Oh, and taking care of your mental health as it relates to sex may mean cutting back on porn. While the link between porn and sexual performance issues isn’t crystal clear, a thorough review in the journal Behavioral Sciences noted online porn may be linked to rising sexual dysfunction in young men.
We’ve talked about this topic, as well as the ongoing research into the effects of porn on your penis health and erectile function, in our guide to porn-induced ED.
Whether it develops at work or at home, stress can become a cause of psychological erectile dysfunction.
If you’re feeling stressed, try to make changes to your habits and lifestyle to limit your exposure to things that cause you to feel stressed, worried and anxious.
If you smoke, make an effort to quit — the benefits of quitting extend far beyond your penis health and sexual performance.
While it’s okay to drink in moderation, research shows that men who are dependent on alcohol usually have high levels of sexual dysfunction, low sexual desire, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Even if you’re in good health, drinking can cause temporary sexual issues you and the boys might have referred to as “whiskey dick.”
Try to limit your consumption to a safe, healthy level — a maximum of two alcoholic drinks per day according to the CDC.
While we’re covering obvious things, you should remember to keep your penis clean.
Proper hygiene helps prevent the build-up of smegma, a substance that’s made up of oil, dead skin cells and moisture which, as you can imagine, can increase your risk of infection.
Wash your penis at least one time every day using warm water — and be sure to be thorough.
There are dozens of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, many of which can spread to your body through direct contact with others.
While some STIs are primarily an annoyance, others can have serious consequences for your health and well-being — all STIs are worth getting diagnosed and treated for.
Common STDs include:
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
You can lower your risk by taking the following precautions:
Wear a condom, which will significantly reduce your risk of infection for all STDs.
Get tested regularly to learn about any existing infections, some of which may not have symptoms. The CDC website provides more information about how STD testing works, as well as a testing site finder tool that you can use to find testing locations near you.
Get vaccinated against conditions like HPV that can cause STDS.
ED and PE are serious conditions to deal with, and while pretending they don’t exist may help you avoid awkward conversations with a healthcare provider, it’s probably causing serious problems in your relationships.
Here’s how to treat both:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications include Viagra® (sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil), Levitra® (vardenafil) and Stendra® (avanafil). We offer several ED medications online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Premature ejaculation (PE) medications are really medications for other conditions that are used off-label. Antidepressants such as sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®), Lexapro® (escitalopram), Prozac® (fluoxetine) and Paxil® (paroxetine) can be employed. Talk to a healthcare professional about your options, which may also include topical treatments like our Clockstopper benzocaine wipes or Delay Spray.
A number of health conditions can affect the function of your penis, your testicles, the blood vessels that give you erections and the brain that lets you get turned on.
Luckily, regular checkups, good hygiene and some smart lifestyle changes can largely prevent health issues related to your member.
Want to keep your penis in tip-top shape? Here’s what to remember:
Penis health is about both the performance of your penis, like your ability to get and maintain an erection during sex, and basic hygiene, which lowers your risk of STDs and other infections.
For the most part, anything that improves your cardiovascular health or hygiene will also have a positive effect on your penis and sexual performance.The most effective way to keep your penis healthy and functioning properly is to keep your body in good shape through regular exercise, a balanced diet and other healthy habits.
On the other hand, habits like smoking or drinking alcohol excessively may prevent your penis from functioning correctly.
It’s also important to maintain your mental health, which has a significant impact on your sexual desire, function and performance.
Science-based treatments, such as ED meds, can improve your sexual function and may play a role in maintaining the health of your penis.
If you have a penis-related health issue, you can talk to a licensed healthcare provider online about next steps.
Penis care doesn’t have to be a constant concern or a source of anxiety. Take steps to prevent problems today — your sex life will thank you tomorrow.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.